Story at a glance
- Since George Floyd’s death, there have been protests against the use of police force every night in cities across America.
- While many have been peaceful, others have involved looting and vandalism by some members of the crowd.
- Posts on social media showing both violence and peaceful protest have gone viral, each for different reasons.
Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police on March 13 after they entered her apartment without notice under a "no-knock warrant." The killing of her and countless other black men and women by police officers has sparked protests across the country — some peaceful, while others less so.
But depending on who you follow on social media, your perception of the protests in different cities and states may be entirely different. Are they mostly peaceful, with some violence? Or mostly violent, with some peace?
A photo comprised mostly of black protesters standing in a semicircle around a police officer in Louisville, separating him from the crowd of protesters, went viral. Nancy Duncan, who tweeted the photographs, said the protesters were protecting the officer after he was separated from other members of his squad, although the post has not been verified.
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Last night in Louisville. Protesters protected an officer separated from his squad. pic.twitter.com/cp1D59JBSY— Nancy Duncan (@ndduncan59) May 30, 2020
Earlier that day, while covering protests near the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, a VICE reporter tweeted a video of a black woman hugging a police officer in riot gear. The video had 2.7 million views by 5 p.m. the next day and had been liked and retweeted thousands of times.
She just went in for the hug, and the officer accepted. Lasted almost a minute. Incredible pic.twitter.com/rJjvN0yhXz— Roberto Ferdman (@robferdman) June 1, 2020
The two moments echo similar behavior by protesters in other cities, such as some in Brooklyn seeking to keep others away from a Target store.
Other posts showed police officers kneeling in prayer and in protest with other demonstrators, seemingly in an act of solidarity. But by the end of the night in Louisville, black restaurant owner David McAtee was dead after police officers and national guard members fired on a crowd of protesters.
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